NASA is giving everybody the opportunity to be part of history – to join the space missions to Mars – by registering on a dedicated website opened for the purpose and having your name inscribed on a microchip that will go to Mars. As at the evening of October 8, the people that have registered their names and that have been placed on the space travel to Mars are 167,832 but you still have up to October 31 before the window closes.
According to NASA, the registered names will be carried on the test flight of the Orion module and this has been called the Exploration Flight Test-1 to take off December 4 – and this entails the completion of two orbits at an altitude of 3,600 miles during 4.5 hours, at which time ground control will test the spacecraft’s systems.
The Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 will then move into Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of almost 20,000 miles per hour, where its hull might withstand about 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. The Orion will then return to Earth by dropping down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Although registration of names for the coming Orion’s test flight ends by October 31, the website will still remain open for others to register their names on the microchip to be taken on other subsequent trips to space. While the immediate mission at hand will be a low-Earth orbit, subsequent ones will be to Mars proper.
According to the manager of the Orion program, Mark Geyer, “NASA is pushing the boundaries of exploration and working hard to send people to Mars in the future. When we set foot on the Red Planet, we’ll be exploring for all of humanity. Flying these names will enable people to be part of our journey.”